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Which are the World's 50 Best Hotels of 2012?
The Results of the Annual Travel + Leisure Survey are in!

By Travel + Leisure Staff
August, 2012

Catch a water taxi to the Peninsula Bangkok, and the chaos of the Thai capital slips away as you enter your serene guest room, done in silks and teakwood, overlooking the Chao Phraya River and glittering cityscape. The hotel, a longtime favorite, makes such an impression that it’s now ranked No. 11 in the world.
Everyone wants to know where to stay, and for 17 years running, we’ve asked T+L readers, who are passionate about travel, to vote on the hotels they love the most. The resulting World’s Best Awards are a collection of the properties that go above and beyond. The voting categories stay the same—rooms, location, service, food, and value—but this year’s results showcase the hotels and destinations that are important now.
One noticeable trend: Istanbul is on the rise. The city’s Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul on the Bosphorus ranked No. 24 (it’s also the No. 1 Large City Hotel in Europe); readers love the riverfront location and the 19th-century building’s refined elegance. Elsewhere in Europe, readers are heading to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where the family-run Hotel Santa Caterina offers antique-filled rooms and the seclusion of a private beach, terraced gardens, and citrus orchards. 
Some surprising newcomers also made the ranks of the T+L 2012 World’s Best Awards: the romantic Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, near Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano, debuts at No. 6 (it’s the first Costa Rican hotel to break into the Top 10); Australia’s Southern Ocean Lodge, the country’s first wilderness luxury retreat, surged to the top of the list at No. 3.
But the top 50 hotels aren’t exclusively found in far-flung destinations. In 2012, almost 20 percent of the winners are right here in the United States. That includes No. 12, Charleston’s genteel Wentworth Mansion, with its romantic restaurant and rooftop cupola’s views, and No. 21, the Osprey at Beaver Creek, CO, a recently renovated ski-in, ski-out hotel near the slopes.
Safari lodges are tough to beat, however, especially Singita Grumeti Reserves, in Tanzania. Two lodges and two camps (including one mobile camp, set up in various locations around the Serengeti) make up this exotic winner, which has ranked No. 1 in the world for two years running. For all the World’s Best Hotel winners, read on—and then hit the road to experience them yourself.

To view each property visit:

Travel + Leisure: World’s Best Hotels 2012

1. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

2. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT

3. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

4. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

5. Discovery Shores, Boracay, Philippines

6. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

7. Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

8. Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires

9. Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania

10. Singita Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa

11. The Peninsula, Bangkok

12. Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, SC

13. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Lodges, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa

14. One&Only, Cape Town

15. Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

16. Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand

17. Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

18. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

19. Tu Tu'tun Lodge, Gold Beach, OR

20. Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

21. Osprey at Beaver Creek, CO

22. Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Elysian), Chicago

23. The Peninsula, Shanghai

24. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

25. Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

26. Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi, Italy

27. andBeyond Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

28. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India

29. Hotel Salto Chico/Explora Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile

30. The Sebastian, Vail, CO

31. The Peninsula, Hong Kong

32. The Willcox, Aiken, SC

33. Live Aqua, Cancún, Mexico

33. Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas, & Spa, Johannesburg, South Africa

35. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX

36. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India

37. Capella, Singapore

38. Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

39. Amansara, Siem Reap, Cambodia

40. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island, HI

41. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town

42. Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

43. The Peninsula, Chicago

44. Cape Grace, Cape Town

45. Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso), Ravello, Italy

46. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya

47. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India

48. Lodge at Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland

49. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest, Hungary

49. Huka Lodge, Taupo, New Zealand

49. Morrison House, Alexandria, VA

Travel + Leisure 2012 World’s Best Awards Survey Methodology
A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure®, in association with ROI Research Inc., was made available to Travel + Leisure readers at from December 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012. Readers were invited to participate through Travel + Leisure magazine (January, February, March, and April issues), T+L iPad® editions and newsletters, and online at To protect the integrity of the data, after March 31, 2012, respondents were screened by Travel + Leisure and responses from any identified travel-industry professionals who completed the survey were eliminated from the final tally. The survey website,, was maintained, monitored, and kept secure by ROI Research Inc., which collected and tabulated the responses and kept them confidential. The scores are indexed averages of responses concerning applicable characteristics. Respondents were asked to rate hotels, islands, destination spas, and rental-car agencies on five characteristics; cities, cruise lines, and tour operators and safari outfitters on six characteristics; and airlines and hotel spas on four characteristics (see below). In most categories, respondents could also rate additional optional characteristics; these ratings were not included in the final score. For each characteristic, respondents were asked to rate a candidate on a scale of 1 to 5, where “1” means poor and “5” means excellent. Required component ratings were then averaged, creating an overall score. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for inclusion in the World’s Best Awards listings. Some companies were rated in both the cruise lines and tour operators and safari outfitters categories, and some properties were rated in both the destination spas and hotel spas categories. In both cases, companies, and properties have different scores for each category. Throughout the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, scores shown have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie,  properties, companies, or destinations share the same ranking. The majority of ships in large-ship cruise lines carry 600 passengers or more; the majority of ships in small-ship cruise lines carry fewer than 600 passengers. Spa results will appear in T+L’s October 2012 issue.
With an eye for the authentic, the innovative, and the irresistible, Travel + Leisure® (, @travlandleisure) fuses expert reporting on culture, food, style, and design with stunning photography, transporting readers to the places—and the travel experiences—that matter now. T+L, the monthly title from American Express Publishing and the long-standing authority in its field, has the largest audience of any travel magazine and is an indispensable guide for global nomads. Travel + Leisure has a network of international editions, including Travel + Leisure Mexico, Travel + Leisure Turkey, Travel + Leisure China, Travel + Leisure South Asia, and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.


Liz Marsh
212 382 5684 

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Also See:
The Travel + Leisure 2012 World's Best Awards; Top Hotels, Cities, Islands, Cruise Lines, Airlines, and More; Waldorf Astoria Chicago is Top Large City Hotel in U.S. / July 2012

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